Barclays adopts Salesforce to go social

Head of global CRM at Barclays admits compliance is a big issue when using social networking but claims it has hugely benefited the business

Barclays bank has adopted Salesforce’s enterprise social networking tool, Chatter, to help sales teams keep closer contact with their customers.

At the roll-out, during this week’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, Adrian Mariadas, vice-president of global customer relationship management (CRM) at Barclays, said that with a staff of over 4,000 globally, the simplicity of Salesforce made deployment easy.

“Our corporate IT is locked down,” he said. “We can’t access Facebook, Twitter and a lot of stuff you take for granted as consumers. Our guys are time-poor and sales people need to know who is talking to customers, to keep track and spot the next deal.”

By using Chatter, Barclays staff across all divisions can share stories about their clients, help each other with queries and give advice about operations in different countries.

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Mariadas said a big launch was imperative as a social network without users doesn’t give any return on investment.

“One little tip is to make sure [users] are posting regularly,” he said. “We got our top leaders to post, fed them the top three things that are happening and told them this is what you need to talk about.”

“Chatter champions – we call them ‘Chatterati’ – is what you need. But don’t assume that you know who your best change agents are going to be – a lot of the older demographic are getting a lot out of it, while the younger graduate employees [don’t use it as much].”

This week, Salesforce introduced Chatter Communities into the tool and Mariadas said setting up groups was another key aspect to making it work for Barclays.

“Train everyone,” he added. “It is tempting with big organisation to skip a few groups, but you [need everyone involved].”

As a bank, Barclays did have compliance issues – which Mariadas said was the biggest concern.

“We involved [the compliance teams] early and had open, honest conversations,” he said. “What really leveraged it for us is we created a whitepaper showing that this is Chatter, this is how we will use it, these are the risks and concerns and this is how we mitigate.”

“It was all in one document and when no one has any further concerns, they can’t say no anymore. People are wary of what they don’t know, so you need to show them [the answers].”

Once it got the sign off, Mariadas and his team ran a one-month pilot and is now rolling it out across the company.

“On our social journey, we spent a long time talking about what we should do/needed to do,” he said. “The thing for us was to keep it simple and work out the tools you need to see the benefits in your organisation.”

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